Purdue Professor Scores $450K DOE Grant

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(Image courtesy of Purdue University) (Image courtesy of Purdue University)
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A new professor at Purdue University's School of Materials Engineering has received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. The $450,000 grant will allow Xinghang Zhang to lead a three-year study on improving the strength of aluminum.

Purdue says the research will include studying aluminum at a microscopic level. The School of Materials Engineering recently acquired an advanced transmission electron microscope that will be used for the project and other research to be performed in the future.

"This allows us to explore fundamental science on mechanical behavior of nanotwinned aluminum and could eventually lead to the design of high strength and ductile aluminum alloys," said Zhang. "One of the major issues with aluminum alloy is its strength is much lower than steels. Aluminum is ductile, but it's very soft."

Zhang, who is beginning his first semester at Purdue after 12 years at Texas A&M University, says the ultimate goal is to make nanotwinned aluminum as hard as steel, which the university says could help in many areas, such as creating better fuel efficiency in vehicles. 

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